19 November 2013

Life Is a Loan, Death the Repayment

E. James Lieberman, Acts of Will: The Life and Work of Otto Rank (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993):
Life is a loan, death the repayment. The artist type takes the loan and spends or invests it — willingly. Such a person accepts the finite term of the loan, and makes choices in accordance with that reality. The neurotic, in contrast, cannot willingly accept the loan with its limit. He or she vacillates, paralyzed by anxiety and doubt, refusing to commit the life-loan. At repayment time, the neurotic hopes — pathetically — to flout the limit. “I haven’t begun yet. I should not have to die — I have not really lived!”
Otto Rank discusses this idea in Technik der Psychoanalyse III; Die Analyse des Analytikers (Wien: Franz Deuticke, 1931), pp. 43-44.

A man drinks Brüderschaft with Death; notice the linked arms.
From Bilder des Todes oder Todtentanz für alle Stände
(Leipzig: Engelmann, 1850), p. 16.